Agreement reached on deep sea mining
Plans to open the world's first mine in the deep ocean have moved significantly closer to becoming reality. A Canadian mining company has finalised an agreement with Papua New Guinea to start digging up an area of seabed. The controversial project aims to extract ores of copper, gold and other valuable metals from a depth of 1,500m.
However, environmental campaigners say mining the ocean floor will prove devastating, causing lasting damage to marine life. The company, Nautilus Minerals, has been eyeing the seabed minerals off Papua New Guinea (PNG) since the 1990s but then became locked in a lengthy dispute with the PNG government over the terms of the operation.
Under the agreement just reached, PNG will take a 15% stake in the mine by contributing $120m towards the costs of the operation. Mike Johnston, chief executive of Nautilus Minerals, told BBC News: "It's a taken a long time but everybody is very happy."
"There's always been a lot of support for this project and it's very appealing that it will generate a significant amount of revenue in a region that wouldn't ordinarily expect that to happen."